Many people experience some form of anxiety daily, while some may only encounter it occasionally. With so much stimulation in our daily lives, it is surprising that most of us are able to stay at least relatively calm. You try to relax and not let things get to you, but you know when it is coming. Feelings of worry and apprehension begin to well up and then those old familiar symptoms are back: headaches, nausea, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath. Very quickly, you want to either escape your surroundings to avoid the problem or attack the next person in sight like an angry beast. Anxiety has struck again.
Rest assured, most forms of anxiety are not truly linked to a serious disorder, but to the hectic lifestyles we lead. Everyone is afraid of something, everyone feels stressed from time to time, and it is not unusual for it to manifest itself as anxiety. The great news is there is a simple, relaxing, and pain-free way to help reduce its presence in your life.
What Is Anxiety?
Everyday life is filled with possible stressors. There are deadlines to meet, phone calls to be returned, kids to be picked up and delivered to an array of after-school events, and as if that was not enough, there are bills to be paid along with all the cooking, cleaning, and homework that simply must get done. And that is just the first half of the to-do list! Stressed yet?
What about the presentation to the Board of Directors tomorrow morning? Then there is the speech that has to be delivered at the annual conference next week and it is not even halfway written. Topping it off, there is travel to the Chicago office with the security lines, flight delays, and that pesky little fear of flying. Feeling anxious?
Anxiety is a very complex, yet very normal emotion just like anger, fear, sadness, or happiness. It is hardwired into our brains as a means of survival. You have heard the saying “fight or flight,” right? Well, this is it. Anxiety can develop out of an array of environmental and emotional triggers such stress, fear of failure, fear of rejection, or social anxiety. It can be brought on by public speaking, office presentations, job interviews, forced conversations with a complete stranger on your public commute, or just pure shyness. Anxiety can be unsettling and, at its worst, completely debilitating.
Sorry, I Was Not Paying Attention…
What you might find most interesting is you may have already been in a state of self hypnosis and not even realized it. Have you ever read a book and been so enthralled when you finally tore yourself away and glanced at the clock and found that four, maybe even five hours, had gone by? Perhaps you’ve been so entirely enchanted by a movie, you did not even hear your kids calling for you until they planted themselves between you and the high-definition wide screen? These are everyday examples of a hypnotic state. Many times we do not realize just how entranced we are, until suddenly we snap out of it to think, “Not one, solitary, original thought has entered my head in the last hour! How relaxing!”
What Is Hypnotherapy?
Often, hypnotherapy is negatively associated with mysticism, magic, or the occasional circus cast-off who hypnotizes “willing participants” in his audience, filling their heads full of suggestive nonsense. It is an unfortunate stereotype because hypnotherapy has a very long, deeply rooted history in medicine and has been used successfully in the management not only of anxiety and fear, but also insomnia, pain, and even some more serious disorders.
Hypnotherapy is often used to alter a person’s behavior or emotions, as well as to treat a wide range of conditions. It can be implemented to get past a mental road block that has been hindering personal development or to aid in the process of casting off a bad habit. Many people visit hypnotherapists in order to quit smoking, lose weight, stop biting their nails, or even to help them swear off swearing.
What Is Self Hypnosis ?
Self hypnosis is similar to what is traditionally known as meditation. It can be used to relieve stress and anxiety and reach deep relaxation. Drawing on the same response that compels meditation, self hypnosis allows stress hormones to subside and helps to redirect your mind from unpleasantness. Performing self hypnosis will not put you into a perpetually floating netherworld of the mind from which there is no exit. Rather, it’s a practical, stress relieving tool that can be performed just about anywhere or anytime you feel the anxiousness begin to tighten its grip.
Putting Yourself Under
The first order of business will be to pinpoint what has gotten you turned inside out. Are you truly upset because your boss yelled at you in front of your co-workers? Or is it the sense of failure that you are shouldering from a job not-so-well done? Maybe you’re afraid of the rejection that you think will inevitably come from your peers when the next project rolls around. Be sure you understand what is truly eating at you. Otherwise, you will not be able to maximize your results.
Next, locate a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. If you’re at home, you might prefer to lie down on your bed or even on the floor. Getting comfortable is the key here, but it is not necessary to lie prone on the dining room table. If you can sink into a comfy chair, that will do quite nicely for this exercise.
Turn off or dim the lights if it‘s possible. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax. Do your best to clear your mind. It can be difficult as thoughts needle their way back in to your mind: a car passes by outside, your phone rings, or you forgot to set the alarm. Don‘t give up. Imagine slipping back into the calm without forcing everything out. Rather, attempt to let it all fade away. If it helps, imagine stress, anxiety, and fear leaving your body and radiating out or perhaps rolling down your arms, hands, and fingers, and then down to the floor. When you really begin to relax and let go, you will feel the tension leave your muscles as negativity fades away.
Positive Self-Talk While You’re Under
Continue to breathe deeply and when you feel completely relaxed and at ease, begin to address the problem that has caused you so much grief. Speak to yourself, either quietly whispering or just in your thoughts. Do not use negative speech—this is the very feeling you’re attempting to send packing. Substitute positive phrases and examples. Taking the case above, do not tell yourself, “I deserved that lashing. I was not up to par.” Instead tell yourself, “Everyone makes mistakes, I’ve learned and I will do better next time.”
Repeat your reassuring phrase as many times as you like or until you feel at ease. Once you have regained your mental balance, slowly rise back to your normal state. Stay calm and relaxed and keep your eyes closed. Once you feel as though you have recovered your consciousness, open your eyes and give yourself just a minute before getting up. It’s important that you ease through this transition from self hypnosis to full consciousness. After all, you have just been through quite a journey!
How Do You Feel?
It is tricky to determine the intensity of your own hypnosis, so you will have to trust that you have reached that state. Repetition is often the key with self hypnosis. Practice helps you to get the hang of slowing down your mind and consistently repeating positive, reassuring phrases plants those ideas deep into your subconscious.
Staying alert to symptoms and triggers will help you to maximize the benefits of self hypnosis when anxiety hits. And don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings with trusted family or friends. Simply talking to others about what you are experiencing will often reveal that they are having similar difficulties. It may help you to know that you are not alone in feeling anxious and you could share the advantages and how-tos of self hypnosis with others.
Self- hypnosis is a natural condition of being that is fairly easy to achieve, so make sure you give yourself the credit you deserve. Even if you do not truly “believe” in hypnosis, the deep relaxation techniques can certainly melt away anxiety. If you feel peaceful and rejuvenated, then you have properly performed self hypnosis.
When To Seek Help
There are many varying degrees of anxiety. Some are very mild and may cause only temporary discomfort while others are much more sever causing incapacitating disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and even post traumatic stress disorder. If the symptoms you are experiencing keep you away from the people you love, from doing the activities you enjoy, or make it difficult for you to function in your job or daily life, don’t be afraid to seek professional advice. Anxiety can be overwhelming, but with proper medical attention, advice, and support it can be managed while you get back to your living your life to its fullest.